Animated Catholicism can nullify religion of “nones”
The “religiously unaffiliated” – also known as the “nones” – is now the second largest “religious group” in the U.S, making up almost a quarter of the population. The “none” worldview is especially popular with today’s youth, who have been seduced by the confident, firebrand styles of atheists like Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris, and are attracted by the idea of a hedonistic, self-absorbed culture with no moral truths.
Here are three ways Catholics can fight against the phenomenon of increasing “nones.”
In the final analysis, the only reason atheism is thriving in the U.S. and Europe today is because “believers” allow it. Not the true believers— not the ones whose belief is reflected in their behavior—but rather, the ones for whom God has little or no relevance in life. These are the “Cafeteria Catholics,” who pick and choose the tenets of faith that are easiest to follow; and the ones who end up promoting values just as secular as those of the culture. These folks are essentially “functional atheists,” and it is partly because of them that “nones” have flourished in recent decades.They’ve given atheists so much breathing space and nourishment that it’s been possible for them to increase their ranks and spread like a plague to every segment of western society.
2 • Be a knowledgeable Catholic
Atheism is a bankrupt belief system—and Catholics need to understand and articulate why. What “nones” don’t seem to know is that the greatest contributions to civilization have been made by believers.
Aristotle, Bacon, Da Vinci, and Newton all believed in God. So did the fathers of chemistry, brain surgery, and rocket science. Even the Big Bang Theory was proposed by Fr. George Lemaitre, an astronomer and Catholic priest! And the father of genetics—which provides the basis for the whole theory of evolution—was Gregor Mendel, an Augustinian monk!
Atheists all fall into the same logical fallacy known as “scientism” – the belief that all knowledge must be scientific in nature. They think that everything in life has a purely material basis; that all thoughts, dreams, emotions, philosophies, and arts are purely the result of the movement of molecules. That’s not science—it’s superstition.
Ironically, atheists make a whole slew of assumptions that can’t be proven scientifically. For instance, they believe that the incredibly complex universe—a universe of unparalleled beauty, harmony, and order—came about all by itself, out of nothing; that organization came out of chaos, life came out of lifelessness, consciousness came out of non-consciousness. None of these beliefs can be shown empirically. None of them make sense! Atheists must be called out on this.
3 • Be a confident Catholic
All people are attracted to certitude. It’s time Catholics started acting like they were sure of their faith, instead of behaving as if they were ashamed of it. We are the religion of scholarship, artistic achievement, and true science. We are the religion of peace.
Atheism, on the contrary, has been responsible for more death, carnage, and persecution than any system of beliefs the world has ever known. In the last 100 years alone, atheist regimes — including those of Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and Pol Pot — have killed over 150 million people.
Moreover, atheists are driving this frightening culture of death—a culture in which up to 50 million abortions take place annually, and euthanasia and assisted suicide are becoming routine worldwide.
In summary, if Catholics live their faith devoutly and articulate it with intelligence and confidence, the fruits would be so abundant that the “nones” could never gain a societal foothold.
They simply wouldn’t be able to take root and grow.
ANTHONY DESTEFANO is bestselling author of over 15 books, his latest being Inside the Atheist Mind: Unmasking the Religion of Those Who Say There Is No God. Host of two EWTN TV series and recipient of many awards, he is a longtime pro-life activist with Priests for Life. He and his wife, Jordan, are members of the Jersey Shore Chapter.